HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – A 10 On Your Side investigation into whether or not Hampton Roads is getting its fair share of transportation dollars from the Virginia state budget produced surprising results. 

There is a long-standing belief we do not get our fair share, and that we are greatly overshadowed by Northern Virginia, which sucks up most of that money due to their power and clout in Richmond and the General Assembly. 

But is that true? Do we get our fair share of funding in Hampton Roads? 

We began our search for the truth with road funding statistics from the Virginia Department of Transportation. 

What we found not only surprised us, but also surprised some elected public officials who are in the know, and who admit they were shocked by what 10 On Your Side uncovered. 

At $3.5 billion, the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion is the largest transportation project in Virginia history. 

It connects Norfolk to Hampton.

WAVY showed Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck the statistics. 

“That is interesting,” Tuck said. “I have not seen these figures before, but I do really find them interesting.” 

State Sen. Lionell Spruill is the chairman of the Hampton Roads Caucus, representing all Democrats and Republicans, and he also serves on the State Senate Transportation Committee. 

“In Hampton Roads do we get our fair share? No; the reason is we haven’t been working together,” Spruill said.

State Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) is also on the Senate Transportation Committee. 

“Do we get our fair share? On the federal government side, we do not,” DeSteph said. “I do not believe we do.” 

Highway Construction Programs – Allocations by District

$ in thousandsFY 2019FY 2020FY 2021FY 2022FY 20235-Year Total%
Highway Construction Programs – Allocations by District
Bristol48,070  76,680  102,141  75,544  105,425  407,860 8.7%
Culpeper23,506  15,918  62,623  72,724  66,495  241,267 5.2%
Fredericksburg48,663  64,454  108,289  88,058  93,607  403,071 8.6%
Hampton Roads129,990  135,978  161,601  119,425  184,154  731,148 15.7%
Lynchburg29,918  25,348  58,039  67,441  73,763  254,509 5.5%
Northern Virginia76,755  65,841  98,847  154,985  226,591  623,019 13.4%
Richmond73,278  61,650  114,610  147,630  144,040  541,208 11.6%
Salem61,141  76,925  125,038  124,396  93,951  481,450 10.3%
Staunton55,286  41,885  104,351  87,013  101,664  390,198 8.4%
Statewide28,868  30,895  131,284  245,025  155,828  591,900 12.7%
TOTAL575,475  595,574  1,066,822  1,182,240  1,245,517  4,665,629 100.0%
Source: Funding Allocation Summary from each SYIP. (VDOT)

Here’s what our investigation uncovered.


Virginia has given $4.665 billion dollars for highway construction since fiscal year 2019 and data shows Hampton Roads got the most funding, with more than $731 million, or 15.7%.

Followed by Northern Virginia, with more than $623 million, or 13.4%, then Richmond, with $541.2 million, or 11.6% 

WAVY showed these numbers to Spruill.

“I am tickled to death,” Spruill said. “I didn’t know that we were number one. I always thought Northern Virginia was, so you have really changed my mind.” 

We also showed the numbers to State Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach).

“This is the first time I’m seeing these numbers like this,” Knight said. “I haven’t seen it before.”

Knight is the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, known as the “Money Committee,” and you cannot overstate the power he carries in that position. His fingerprints are all over the state budget.

“It shows we are getting our fair share and a little bit more,” Knight said.

Knight also pointed out that none of this funding includes the $470 million the region got for what is known as the “29-mile gap project” widening Interstate 64 from two to four lanes heading east and west through New Kent County.

“We are one area between Hampton Roads and Richmond,” Knight said. “And that is our gateway. We are a community at the end of a cul-de-sac, and we have to have a way in and a way out.”

Knight also made the case on why requesting the $470 million from the state was properly granted.

“We were told the Port (of Virginia) couldn’t expand,” Knight said. “And the Navy said, not only could they not expand, but they could also have to contract, so we put our money where our mouth is.”

VDOT Maintenance and Operations

FY 2019FY 2020FY 2021FY 2022FY 2023
City/County Street Payments
Bristol16,479,576  16,602,471  16,910,513  17,187,325  18,336,451 
Culpeper8,647,843  8,641,475  8,775,246  8,951,337  9,542,618 
Fredericksburg3,759,096  3,772,802  3,856,829  3,996,930  4,354,842 
Hampton Roads191,086,733  191,727,335  196,647,386  199,942,725  213,516,414 
Lynchburg27,805,297  27,812,174  28,433,355  28,898,787  30,807,699 
Northern Virginia (includes Arlington)45,308,030  45,411,907  46,415,190  47,260,426  49,995,329 
Richmond (includes Henrico)94,629,015  94,661,705  96,436,841  98,178,424  103,577,021 
Salem41,310,142  41,448,950  42,412,541  43,906,062  46,957,467 
Staunton27,593,638  27,731,745  28,484,944  29,151,120  31,097,166 
TOTAL456,619,369  457,810,563  468,372,844  477,473,134  508,185,007 
VDOT Maintenance and Operations
Bristol169,789,723  169,789,722  178,427,985  157,846,686  167,084,033 
Culpeper112,044,005  112,044,006  102,658,507  76,535,729  91,802,678 
Fredericksburg109,995,043  109,995,041  112,689,550  120,367,627  123,778,924 
Hampton Roads193,335,840  193,335,839  191,377,780  189,893,203  204,412,450 
Lynchburg164,084,452  108,732,602  112,352,209  90,723,307  99,657,710 
Northern Virginia317,476,067  317,476,071  304,330,019  226,520,525  305,156,982 
Richmond167,278,340  222,630,194  216,742,812  193,145,531  214,948,875 
Salem180,032,518  180,032,518  173,023,966  158,131,123  176,000,035 
Staunton149,052,451  149,052,451  140,491,456  125,188,088  141,396,000 
Central Office161,063,496  165,022,129  209,793,837  418,290,079  540,612,602 
TOTAL1,724,151,935  1,728,110,573  1,741,888,121  1,756,641,898  2,064,850,289 

But there’s more.  

According to VDOT, Virginia allocated $2.38 billion for road maintenance since fiscal year 2019. 

Hampton Roads was number one every year, receiving 42% of that, or nearly $992,920,593. 

Followed by Richmond, with $487,483,006, or 21%, then Northern Virginia, with $234,390,882, or 10%. 

Mayor Tuck is also former chairman of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.  He seemed impressed when he saw the road maintenance numbers.

“I was not aware,” Tuck said. “We did not know we were getting so much money for maintenance, so that is impressive. I will discuss that with the people who comprise our commissions and boards, because I am sure it is new to them as well.”  

Time now for a huge reality check. 

“These numbers, although impressive and appreciated by Hampton Roads leaders, the state money is not and has never been nearly enough,” said Bob Crum, Executive Director of the HRTPO.

“It is important to remember that $731 million we received, and we appreciate it,” Crum said. “But it is not nearly enough to fund the magnitude and size of projects under construction you see today.” 

To Crum’s point, we now have five transportation projects underway in Hampton Roads costing $5.8 billion; 92% of that paid for by Hampton Roads taxpayers from the regional state sales tax and gas tax. 

Last year, that brought in $243 million, and it is exclusively for roads, and all of it stays in Hampton Roads.  

Those projects include the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion, the expansion of lanes on I-264 on the Peninsula, and the widening of the High-Rise Bridge.  

Hampton Roads is able to tax people after the program was approved by the General Assembly. 

In 2013, approved by the General Assembly, the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, or HRTAC, was established as a funding mechanism to raise taxes for what is the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund.

HRTAC’s executive director is Kevin Page, and the Richmond and Northern Virginia regions have similar programs to raise taxes for roads. 

“The only way we are going to advance these projects is through resources,” Crum said, “and a lack of resources has consequences, and thankfully our elected officials in Hampton Roads and the General Assembly have the foresight to really give us this opportunity.” 

It should also be noted that in October 2016, there was a landmark regional decision that, as a region, Hampton Roads would unanimously move forward with the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion and a host of other projects. 

“We are trying to make a case,” Knight said, “and I guess the Hampton Roads delegation has been pretty persuasive in the last four or five years in making our case for the funding.” 

There is no doubt Hampton Roads has a lot of political power in Richmond. How that changes – who has power and who doesn’t – remains to be seen in what a watershed General Assembly election cycle it will be, in which all 100 seats in the House of Delegates and 40 seats in the State Senate are up for election.  

It should also be noted that this transportation funding we are reporting on is not supposed to be political, but instead is formula-driven in a manner that determines where the greatest needs are, and where that funding should go. 

Hampton Roads has been number one in funding for the last five years, but maybe not the next five years.  

That’s where those regional taxes come in to build the roads that take us where we need to go. 

“Many of us have been left with the impression that we are not getting our fair share,” Tuck said. “So I think it would be surprising to many of us, if not all of us, to see these numbers you have reported … which is great investigative reporting.”